Texas A&M Football: Winners and Losers from Week 2 Game vs. SMU

Michael Taglienti@@miketag98Featured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2012

Texas A&M Football: Winners and Losers from Week 2 Game vs. SMU

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    The Texas A&M football team beat the SMU Mustangs 48-3 at Ford Field on Saturday. The Aggies struggled on offense in the first quarter but exploded for 41 points in the second and third quarters to put the game away.

    With the victory, the Aggies moved to 1-1 on the season while SMU dropped to 1-2. It was the first victory at A&M for head coach Kevin Sumlin.

    The Aggies need to win seven games this season to qualify for a bowl game. The win over SMU was the first step in that process. Whenever a team has a new coaching staff and does not win its first game, there is always some doubt in the process.

    Actually going out and winning a game in convincing fashion helps eliminate some of that doubt from fans and players.

    This is a look at the winners and losers from the Aggies' game against SMU.

Winner: QB Johnny Manziel

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    Manzeil still has to work on playing within the offensive system, but his ability to improvise and create on the run is unquestioned. 

    Manziel set a school record for total yardage by a freshman with 418 yards against the Mustangs. He had a school record with his 294 yards passing and also rushed for 124 yards on 13 carries. Manziel accounted for six touchdowns, with four passing and two rushing.

    He resorted to sandlot football a lot and needs to learn with play more within the confines of the offense. It is OK to improvise against the SMU defense, but when he is facing LSU or Alabama, Manziel is going to have to know where his second and third reads are.

    If Manziel is ever able to combine his ability to make plays off schedule while making the proper progressions in the offense, he will become one of the more dangerous offensive weapons in college football.

Loser: Offensive Line

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    Take away Manziel's rushing yardage and the Aggies only rushed for 101 yards on 29 carries against the Mustangs. That is an average of 3.48 yards per carry after averaging only 3.5 yards per carry against Florida in Week 1.

    Running back Christine Michael was suspended for the SMU game for violating team rules, but the Aggies should have still been able to establish the run against the Mustangs.

    The Aggies also allowed two sacks to the SMU defense. The offensive line needs to shore up some of its issues. SMU is one of the weaker defenses that A&M will face all season, and the Aggies' offensive line did not perform well.

Winner: WR Uzoma Nwachukwu

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    After getting completely shut out against Florida, Nwachukwu responded with a nice game against SMU. He only had two receptions for 38 yards but made both of them count.

    Both of Nwachukwu's catches went for touchdowns. The Aggies do not need Nwachukwu to be a dominant, game-breaking wide receiver; they just need him to consistently catch the passes that are thrown to him.

    If Nwachukwu can play the rest of the season the way he did against SMU, then the Aggies' coaches and fans will be very happy.

Loser: OC Kliff Kingsbury

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    Kingsbury had a week to watch video of the Florida game and better prepare quarterback Johnny Manziel for what he was going to face from defenses.

    Against SMU, Manziel appeared to still struggle going through his reads. Kingsbury needs to figure out a way to expedite the learning process. The Aggies are going to start their conference schedule in two weeks, and Manziel will not be able to improvise all the time against SEC defenses.

    Kingsbury needs to roll Manziel out more in order to offer him more run or pass options. He needs to use Manziel's speed as an asset in other ways besides simply running the zone read.

Winner: QB Jameill Showers

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    Jameill Showers entered the game in the fourth quarter and showed he was quite capable of leading the Aggies offense if Manziel goes down. The redshirt sophomore from Killeen completed six of seven passes for 76 yards.

    He led the Aggies on an 80-yard touchdown drive. Manzeil won the starting job during fall practices because Showers was too hesitant. Showers was very decisive against the Mustangs, however, picking their defense apart.

    Whereas Manziel created on the run, Showers stood in the pocket and sliced up the SMU secondary. He looked like a solid college quarterback on Saturday.

Loser: TE Nehemiah Hicks

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    Nehemiah Hicks missed all of spring practice while recovering from an injury. He did not get a chance to show the new staff what he could do until two-a-days during August.

    Hicks is one of the more talented athletes on the Aggies' roster. He can be a weapon in the passing game, and he caught three passes for 19 yards against the Mustangs, but also fumbled the ball.

    The Aggies recovered the fumble, but failing to hold onto the football will not endear Hicks to the staff. In the SEC, turnovers will cause you to lose football games. The coaches are not going to give the ball to someone who might fumble it. 

Winner: DE Damontre Moore

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    Moore had two sacks against the Mustangs to lead the Aggies' defense again. He also chipped in six tackles against SMU.

    After two games, Moore leads the Aggies with five sacks and ranks among the national leaders. He is consistently playing great football. If Moore is able to keep playing at this level and remains healthy, he will be a sure-fire All-SEC and possible All-American selection.

Loser: RB Christine Michael

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    After struggling to run the ball against Florida, Michael missed an opportunity to show that his surgically repaired knee is all healed against a much weaker SMU defense.

    Michael was suspended for violation of team rules on the Thursday before the game. He let himself and his teammates down by getting suspended.

    The Aggies have solid depth at running back with Ben Malena and Trey Williams behind Michael on the depth chart. They need Michael to be available for SEC games if they want to make it to a bowl in 2012.

Winner: CB De'Vante Harris

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    Harris struggled during the first game of his college career against Florida. He missed multiple tackles and looked like the true freshman that he is.

    Against SMU, Harris led the defense with seven tackles. He wrapped up much better and was improved in coverage. He even managed a tackle for loss. 

    Harris should be expected to be inconsistent as a true freshman, but it is nice to see his improvement on the field. He should continue to get better as he gets more experience in this defense.

Winner: DC Mark Snyder

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    Snyder's defense limited a potentially explosive SMU offense to three points and 309 total yards. Through two games, Snyder has proven rather adept at knowing when to dial up blitzes and apply pressure to the opposition.

    The Aggie defense led the nation in sacks in 2011 with 51. Through two games in 2012 the Aggies have 12 total sacks, but have proven better at getting off the field on third down than the 2011 squad.

    It is only two games into the season, but Snyder has proven capable of putting a solid defense on the field.